Beginning

Jan
10

When I feel sad sometimes I get angry

After cracking open the word friendship, we started investigating emotions through literature, materials and dialogue. After reading When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, we asked, What happens in our bodies when we have a big feeling? And what do you do when you have that big feeling? The children offered strategies, […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Dec
12

How does staying in inquiry sustain collaborative play?

Recently, we offered a new workshop called Constructing Collaborative and Constructive Learning Communities. (Here’s a preview and a recap.) When looking for a story to share from our preschool classrooms, we were on the hunt for something unexpected yet accessible focused on the interplay between the conditions we create for teaching and learning and strategies […]
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By Hana Hutchings | Beginning
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Oct
20

I can help

How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community? This is one of the questions we included in our letter of intention. Playing with materials (and each other!) offers lots of opportunities for the children to make sense of the idea of community. We […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
12

Sitting in the pocket of a rhythm

After I wrote this story, I felt like it was too personal. I wondered if, although supported my thinking, it might not be worth publishing. Then I had a moment of serendipity. Nassrin and I were talking about her first few weeks at our school, and she shared her reflection that when Caroline teaches, it’s […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Sep
21

What is the relationship between playful inquiry and open systems?

At last week’s back-to-school night, I was asked to speak briefly about Playful Inquiry and open systems. I’m sharing what I said — for families who weren’t able to attend, for educators who read the blog to consider, and for those who were able to attend to revisit. I look forward to reading your responses!  At Opal […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Sep
12

Intentions: Transformation

Dear Families, In this complicated and uncertain world, we believe school is where we learn to be human. And right now, more than ever, we need people who can listen with empathy and understanding, imagine multiple possibilities, communicate their ideas in a variety of ways, and see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. One […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Feb
14

Culture Makers + Word Breakers

The language we choose in our teaching changes the worlds children inhabit now and those they will build in the future. — Peter Johnston, Opening Minds At Opal School, the words we choose matter to us, and they are noticed as being distinctive by others. During a recent Q&A session with educators from another school district, […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Jan
20

Boys Only Ice Cream

“Boys only ice cream! Boys only ice cream!” a child called out. Ice cream shops are part of outside play for Opal Beginning School. One of our outside destinations is a beautiful woven twig sculpture with lots of little windows that turn into many things – but most commonly it transforms into an ice cream […]
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By Amy Gannon | Beginning
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Jan
18

The Secrets of Wire: Play, Reflection and Relationships with Risk

As my colleagues and I continued to think together about our big idea of transformation and some of our research questions, we wondered what materials might lend themselves to playing with this big idea. Wire came to mind as a material to explore together: it is easily transformed, offering these young children a concrete experience […]
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Dec
09

Intention Setting and Habits of Mind

Last March, Cedar Teacher Caroline Wolfe wrote a blog post about some of the resources that we use at Opal School when thinking about goals and expectations for children, which includes a body of work by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick identifying 16 habits of mind to use when you are confronted with a […]
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By Kimie Fukuda | Beginning
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